Day 67, 16 March 2016
Ian: Carry on camping
Started the day pulling sleds (with the skis on them) along a wet, icy road. We got 3km north and a farmer stopped to chat. When he heard where we were headed that day he advised another route. The thaw that has followed the mild weather meant the rivers are actually rivers (you know, wet and deep) and not iced over. That goes for the lakes too. Not nice and will affect forward plans and influence the speed I can take my skis off).
Anyway we took the farmer’s advice and ended up following the Norway-Sweden border (more like a sheep fence). It wasn’t an easy route – deep thawing snow in mid-dense conifers and up and down terrain like Hadrian’s Wall at Sycamore Gap. Did I mention the thick fog? Took a while to make very little progress. Navigation was a nightmare.
After a quick and pithy philosophical debate and lunch stop at a locked fishing cabin we took a bearing on a hill 5km away – well the map said it was 5km away, we couldn’t see a thing, just white snow and white fog. But we got there and then descended to a (melting) lake. There was a cabin on the map so we thought we’d be opportunist and avoid camping. Turned out to be in the process of being renovated and the two builders wouldn’t, understandably, let us sleep in it. So we pitched the tent next to it only to hear voices – 16 university students on a week’s outdoor expedition, plus their teacher, turned up, with a key!
They’re sleeping in the comfort of a luxurious, if marginally unfinished, hut; we, on the other hand, are being heroic in a tent. But they did invite us in for coffee and chat and a warm. Thanks guys, great to meet you all!